Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I should be getting ever so excited about the World Cup. It happens every 4 years blah blah blah. Yes, you're right, it does. But, I just don't seem all that fussy about it. I'll watch parts of it but I'll not be sitting watching each and every game. I'm sure it will be decent but I just lacking enthusiasm for it. Perhaps it's because we're not there. Maybe.

Sadly though, because we are not there and England are, the press will be purely focussing on them and all the nonsense that that entails. Everything from tactics, WAG's, location, type of football, songs whatever. It all get's a bit tiresome. Did you know that England won the World Cup in 1996. No, me neither. I had no idea. I wish someone had told me.

Every single moment we hear about it. This time, the England away top has been modelled on the 1966 top. Eh, didn't they pull the same marketing ploy in the last World Cup? I even read that the squad's official suits are modelled on the squad's 1966 suits. My god. Then of course, is the usual digging up for the '1966 World Cup hero _________', who doesn't even watch football know but is asked to provide an 'expert' view of some random nonsense. Just because they won the World Cup doesn't actually mean they know anything about anything. Then there is the song. Honestly, is a song going to make any difference to anything?

Then there is the small issue of Cappello actually coming out and saying that if they don't get to the final, the the whole World Cup campaign would be viewed as a failure. Whatever. England will not win it. There will be no prediction here on who will. It's an impossible task trying to pick a winner. It'll be easier to say who won't win it. As a famous President said - I think, or was it some random? - read my lips, England will not win. Oh and now that Beckham is injured, why don't we just bring him along as a coach. Yes, what a wonderful idea. Oh, hold on, he can't coach, he has no experience and no qualifications. Oh, it's OK bring him anyway. That is a pander too far, surely. It's all a faff.

When does it start anyway?

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I can't be bothered with them.

There I was driving along a 3 lane road. It wasn't busy in the slightest. I could have gone from one side to another without getting in another cars way or compromising my safety. I was in the outermost lane, on the left had side - we drive on the same side as the US. Up ahead, I knew there was a big roundabout coming up. I was in the correct lane to approach it. I was doing 100Km/h. Not too fast, not too slow. I was entirely safe.

Yet, from literally knowhere this big Land Rover appeared. He was travelling fast and in 'my' lane. I could see him coming behind. My general 'rule' is, if someone want's to go faster than you let them. That though means that I don't move for them. If they want to go round, they can overtake. I'm not going to put myself in a dangerous position. This particular local 'gentleman' was getting close to me. The other 2 lanes to my right were totally empty. He could have easily moved to one of them, no problem at all. It's not like he didn't know I was 'coming up'. Did he decided to go around me?


Instead, this knobhead decided to start honking his horn and flashing his lights. In essence, 'get out of the way'. In order to do that, he had to slow down to my speed then activate all these 'controls' to do that. In the same space of time, he could have looked in his mirror and gone round. But no. He wanted to bully and intimidate instead. I didn't move. I maintained my speed. I made it obvious that I was looking in my mirror and knew he was there. Still I remained strong. Cocky, huh?!

The honking and flashing of lights continued. In the end, I decided that I would move one lane over. So, I indicated without actually moving to the other lane - just so he knew my intentions. Then, slowly, I moved across. It took a while to move across and literally when there was enough space for his car, he moved on past. Off he went. The irony being that this roundabout was coming up. He had to stop at the roundabout and for all his huffing and puffing, he really wasn't that far ahead. What was the point of all that 'show'?

It really is people like that that put the rest of us at risk and let me say, there are a load of them over here. Big engines, 4 wheel drives, long straight roads. Each week there are crashes. One my way home for the supermarket, there was a minibus that had flipped over. In fact, it was a school minibus. Thankfully though, no kids were in it at the time. I didn't see any other car. Perhaps the minibus had clipped the kerb or something?


Monday, May 10, 2010


Each month, I have a new intake of students to my courses. The courses I run are 3 weeks in total and correspond to specific levels of English. Generally staff members require to have one of these levels of English to be considered for any promotions that may come in their respective Department. Based on that, it may be that within a class, students will be at varying levels. That comes as no big surprise but then the variation shouldn't be too big. Oh how wrong I was in thinking that...

Sunday saw the start of the pre-intermediate course. I had 5 names on my attendance sheet; 3 from the same department and 2 from a separate department. So far, so 'normal'. They all arrived for class at the correct time and everything was looking OK. Until I asked them to get involved in an introductory activity. It wasn't hard, more a case of a short self introduction. Surely, not too hard. It was. I had an idea something as up when 3 of them started looking at each other quizzically.

One of them uttered to me 'no A, B, C?' 'Eh, no' was my response.

They couldn't do it. They couldn't say more than a few words. The other 2 by contrast were much better. Could read and write and form sentences. Talk about lop sided. These 3 guys just couldn't do anything. A tried to find out how much English they know. I went back to basics and asked them to tell me the alphabet. Seemingly there are 22 letters in it - and that was with all 3 of them helping each other. I asked them to write the alphabet. They kind of could, but only in capital letters. They couldn't form lower case.

What can you do in a situation like that?

I was pleasant and nice and tried to help them as much as I could but at the end of the day, there is no chance that they could have stayed in the class. Even with a month's teaching, they would be no where close to passing. Heck, even if  I had them everyday for a year, I'm not sure I could get them up to the required level. Nightmare. I had to tell their Admin about it. As it stands they have little chance of getting promoted in the foreseeable future. Are the department going to invest time and effort in getting them into a position where they might pass the test which would allow them to be considered for a promotion. Probably not.

What can you do?

Saturday, May 08, 2010


Back playing football again. Fantastic!

We have the annual indoor 7 a sides coming up at the end of the month. I really should be running or swimming or at least doing some form of exercise to get ready for it. I have, to an extent but my heart just isn't currently into doing it at the moment. I lack motivation. It's as simple as that. I did though play last Wednesday. It was good. Nice to get on the pitch even if my touch and passing and shooting weren't quite all there. When are they ever, it could be argued.

The next day, I was expecting some soreness and to be fair, there was a little. I'm not exactly sure it was football related though.

I have a pain in my right knee and it can be sore when bending it. The thing is, I think it's more to do with the way I drive. It seems to hurt more when I do. That and when I'm sitting at my desk, and am essentially 'leaning' on my feet when I do. I guess there isn't much you can do if your joints hurt. I've just been trying to minimise moving my leg. I've also altered my seating position when I drive, so we'll see how we get on with that.

Oh, the joys of getting old.

Thursday, May 06, 2010



The number of total posts.

If you add all those digits up, you'll probably get the number of posts that were actually worth taking the time to read.

A milestone indeed.

Another 1001 posts?

That would be something. I'm not ruling it out, but neither am I ruling it in.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


It's back. Yes, those little bits of volcano from our good friends, the Icelanders. Thank you guys. Much appreciated.

Scottish airports were closed because of it and flights cancelled. Indeed our own flight to Glasgow departed on time but was diverted to Newcastle because of it. The passengers who were expecting to fly from Glasgow, didn't. Instead, they were all bused to Dubai and are expected in 2 and a half weeks. Only joking. Clearly. Instead, they were put onto buses and driven down to Newcastle to catch their flight to Dubai. They were 'only' delayed by a few hours. It could have been worse.

I hope this isn't the start of things to come. I haven't actually got any firm plans to fly back to the U.K. at the moment which is perhaps just as well. That said, what if we had this happening every week. What a nonsense that would be, especially over the summer months. It would be a nightmare.

Safety first, I guess.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Annual appraisal.

Two words that tend to strike fear more than anything else. It's something that we have to do however. Actually, it's something that essentially happens twice a year as we have an interim review halfway through the year; an update if you like.

I can't say I was dreadfully worried about it. I do work pretty hard and I do get the job done. I am definitely not the worst in the department. That might be somewhat big-headed but it's a fact. I do what I can and try to look after my area as well as I can. Sometimes, there just isn't enough hours in the day and being a one man team, it's not always possible to do everything I would like. Enough of the 'excuses' though.

I was mostly fine though. My actual 'objectives' were very good with top marks given in most of the categories. That was pleasing as they were the things that I needed to do. My 'competencies' though were a bit less well marked. But, one of the categories is 'leadership'. I have no staff to monitor and manage so it's difficult say whether or not I am lacking in 'leadership' qualities. Perhaps I could 'lead' in other ways in a wider sense but in a department of over 30 people, how far can you really lead without giving the impression that your getting in the way and indeed taking over in areas that aren't really my speciality nor do I have much particular interest in. In many respects, the location that I find myself in doesn't particularly lend itself to being at the centre of things as well. I'm pretty much out of the way of things. Again, that probably counts against me.

Can I really complain? Yes, probably but what good will it do in the short term? Not much I'd imagine. All I can do is keep plugging away and making sure my area is as good as it's allowed to be. I'll need to see where we are this time next year. I like what I do but perhaps not the location. The Department might well be moving to a new building and that might improve things. There is no date or timescale on that though. This time next year a little review of things will have to be made. That'll be 3 years in the same position. I've not been in a position for that length of time since my University days. Upwards and onwards has been the main motivation for changing job. I've done well, I'd say, to get to this point. I don't particularly want to stagnate and get 'stuck'. That said, I'm not very sure where I could go within the group at the moment. A sideways step to the Aviation College? Hmm. I guess Training Manager would be the most logical upward step. I'm not I'm 100% there just yet and with having no staff to manage, I'm not sure I could blag it at this point. Evidence of such things are required and that takes time.